Search results for: shrimp

Opening Bell: 08.27.14

Legroom Gadget Maker Sees Sales Jump After Air-Rage Case (Bloomberg)
The Knee Defender, a gadget that blocks airplane seats from reclining, got a global boost after a scuffle between two passengers forced a United Airlines jet to make an unscheduled landing. The gizmo’s website crashed today after traffic surged, and sales rose “substantially” for the $21.95 plastic clips that have been on the market since 2003, said the inventor, Ira Goldman. While a product that interferes with another flier’s comfort may rub some people the wrong way, the issue is airlines’ legroom cutbacks, Goldman said. Carriers are shrinking space between rows — Spirit Airlines Inc.’s allotment is about 10 percent less than the industry standard — and using thinner cushions to squeeze more people into coach cabins. “They don’t have Plan B for the fact that a lot of people, when they sit down in their seat at the gate, their knees already are hitting the seat-back in front of them,” Goldman said in a telephone interview from Washington. The Knee Defender hit the headlines because of an in-flight squabble on United Flight 1462, which had to touch down on Aug. 24 in Chicago en route to Denver from Newark, New Jersey. One person installed a device that prevented the passenger in front of him from reclining, said Charlie Hobart, a spokesman for United Continental Holdings Inc. The Associated Press, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, gave a more-graphic account: Upset that her seat was locked, one traveler threw water at a man who employed a Knee Defender and refused to remove it at the request of a flight attendant.

Tim Hortons’ Canadian Fans Leery of American Hookup (Bloomberg)
“I don’t like the idea of an American company buying a Canadian company — it’s our brand,” Crosgrey, 60, said as she sipped a Tim Hortons coffee with three creams at a food court in downtown Toronto. “Timmy’s is always trying new things, adapting, they always have good service, and you always get your coffee fast no matter how long the lineup is. Burger King may screw it up.”

A new king of Kickstarter about to be crowned (CNBC)
With a little less than three days before the Coolest Cooler campaign ends, the project raised $10,211,436 as of late Tuesday afternoon. It’s well on its way to surpassing Pebble’s $10, 266,845. Created by Ryan Grepper, the high-tech cooler is part blender, part waterproof bluetooth summer DJ speaker system, part USB recharge station, and yes, also a cooler to keep your stuff cold, with an LED light, cutting board and bottle opener. Although it may seem hard to believe that a cooler—the bread-and-butter of low-tech companies like Coleman—could be the most-funded project ever in a Kickstarter universe of gamers and wearable device nerds, don’t think for a second there wasn’t a lot of hard work that went into this success story. In fact, evolving the cooler has been a passion of Grepper’s for a decade, he told CNBC. “Nine or 10 years ago, I was making a blender out of a weed wacker, putting an old car stereo into a cooler.” His early experiments didn’t work, but Grepper—who is a member of the CNBC Tech Crowd Council—did realize technology could transform a cooler into something even the cool kids might coo over. Grepper didn’t give up easily either. The Coolest Cooler failed the first time he rolled it out on Kickstarter in November 2013. “We weren’t successful,” he said. “We thought tailgating folks would want it, and Christmas would work. But I hadn’t done enough homework.” The failure—the first incarnation of the Coolest Cooler raised a little over $102,000 of a $125,000 goal, connected Grepper with enough people to give him the confidence to expand the project’s design and Kickstarter campaign. By the time the Coolest Cooler rolled out its second bid for crowdfunding fame, on July 8, Grepper had learned a few valuable lessons about finding success on Kickstarter. “I learned that Kickstarter and crowdfunding is a visual medium and people want to see what they are getting and we weren’t there the first time. I took the design to the stage you see it at now.” Timing is also key—when it comes to a cooler, summer rules over Santa and Sunday football tailgating. “The cooler market is hot in the summer,” Grepper said. “That was one of those hindsight realizations.”

Hutchin Hill, Citadel See Assets Jump as Pensions Call (Bloomberg)
Neil Chriss is hitting his stride. The math doctorate turned hedge-fund manager founded Hutchin Hill Capital LP more than six years ago and built it to cater to large investors. After posting annualized returns of 12 percent, about six times the average of his peers, he finds himself in the sweet spot for fundraising. Hutchin Hill’s multistrategy approach is the most popular hedge fund style this year, helping the New York-based firm double assets by attracting $1.2 billion.

Casino Loses 21K After Armored Car Drives Off With Money On Roof (AP)
An armored car company will reimburse an Atlantic City casino after nearly $21,000 fell from the roof of one of its trucks. Police tell The Press of Atlantic City an internal investigation by GardaWorld found no wrongdoing. The company picked up the cash at the soon-to-be-closed Revel casino on Aug. 6. Surveillance video showed the bag holding the cash on the roof as the truck left Revel. The bag was still on the roof when the truck pulled away from nearby Resorts Casino Hotel. A search failed to recover the money. Read more »

Opening Bell: 08.01.14

Argentina Unopposed to Bank Deal With Hedge Funds (Bloomberg)
Argentina’s Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the government wouldn’t oppose a third-party solution to its dispute with a group of hedge funds who successfully sued the country for $1.5 billion. A U.S. judge has blocked Argentina from paying its debt — including an interest payment due July 30 on $13 billion of bonds — until the hedge funds led by Elliott Management Corp. get their money. Standard & Poor’s declared the country in default while Moody’s Investors Service placed its rating on negative outlook.

Gross Left Behind in Pimco Return to Top as Deputies Rise (Bloomberg)
Bill Gross promised in May that funds managed by his Pacific Investment Management Co. would be back on top by the end of the year. So far, his prediction is looking good — unless you count the funds that Gross himself runs. Nine of Pimco’s 15 largest mutual funds are beating at least 75 percent of peers so far this year, according to data compiled by Chicago-based research company Morningstar Inc. None of those top performers are managed by Chief Investment Officer Gross. Of the four funds trailing more than half their rivals, three including the Pimco Total Return Fund are run by the 70-year-old investor known as the bond king.

Tax-Averse French Seek Shelter in Portugal (BusinessWeek)
Under Portugal’s so-called non-habitual-resident program, foreign pensioners who come to live in the country have their pension income exempt from taxes as long as the income is paid from a foreign source. A foreigner has to live at least 183 days a year in Portugal to qualify as a tax resident. France only taxes citizens who live in the country—not French who live abroad. “This means that the pension income may end up not being taxed at all,” says Luis Filipe Sousa, a tax manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Lisbon.

SEC probes its own leak but can’t find culprit (CNBC)
The inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission conducted an intensive, months-long dragnet in 2013 and 2014 involving phone, email and security searches to determine who inside the agency allegedly leaked information to the media about a closed commission meeting discussing the massive JPMorgan “London Whale” settlement, CNBC has learned. Investigators at the Office of the Inspector General produced a 16-page report detailing their findings in March, but that report has never been made public. A copy of the report was obtained by CNBC on Thursday. The document paints a picture of an SEC in which commission members are at odds with one another and investigators scrutinize their colleagues, staff and the media. It also details just how far the inspector general went to learn how information about a Sept. 12, 2013, executive session commission meeting about JPMorgan had apparently been given to a Reuters reporter, Sarah Lynch.

Fired Miami Beach cop gets job back after blaming cocaine test on sex-aid cream (MH)
After Miami Beach police Detective Reinaldo Casas tested positive for cocaine, he insisted that the drug had been unwittingly absorbed into his blood through an erection-enhancing cream he applied to his genitals. His defense worked. An arbitrator this week ordered Casas, who was fired last year because of the positive drug test, be reinstated with complete back pay. “There is no evidence in the record to show that [Casas] was aware the cream contained a controlled substance,” according to the arbitrator’s report, which was released Thursday. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.29.14

Ackman Plans Public Hedge Fund (Dealbook)
While hedge funds typically raise funds privately, the founder of the $13 billion Pershing Square Capital Management is planning to tap the public stock market. Mr. Ackman is aiming to raise billions of dollars for a closed-end fund that could list on the London Stock Exchange as soon as this summer, according to three people briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it. Mr. Ackman, 48, was in London in late April to drum up support among European investors for the fund, according to two of the three people who were briefed.

Snapchat CEO ‘Mortified’ by Leaked Stanford Frat E-Mails (Bloomberg)
Snapchat Inc. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel apologized for e-mails he sent during his fraternity days that celebrated getting drunk and convincing sorority women to perform sexual acts. The profanity-laced e-mails were published Wednesday by Gawker Media LLC’s Valleywag blog and mostly related to Spiegel organizing Stanford University fraternity parties for Kappa Sigma in 2009 and 2010. In one missive, Spiegel recounts being so drunk he peed on a woman in bed with him. “I’m obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic e-mails during my fraternity days were made public,” Spiegel said in an e-mailed statement. “I have no excuse. I’m sorry I wrote them at the time and I was jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women.”

Goldman blames economy for trading slide (FT)
Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, blamed the world economy rather than regulation for sharp declines in trading volumes at his bank and across Wall Street, but said “we’re not just waiting for things to get better”. In remarks to a Sanford Bernstein conference on Wednesday, Mr Cohn said regulation and fiscal and monetary policy played a role in the slide in overall fixed income volumes this year. He added: “We firmly believe that economic fundamentals more than any other factors are responsible for the current operating environment.” But Mr Cohn also sought to combat the perception that Goldman executives were sitting around waiting for an upturn. Headcount in fixed income trading, the misfiring engine of investment bank profits, has been reduced by 10 per cent since 2010, he said, while risk-weighted assets in fixed income, currencies and commodities had dropped by $90bn since June 2012.

Rio Jilts World Cup as $11 Billion Bill Sours Brazil (Bloomberg)
Almost every one of the 12 stadiums being built or remodeled for the event has cost more than anticipated and several promised urban mobility projects have either been scrapped or delayed. During the Confederations Cup, a warm-up event held last year, more than a million people took to the streets in the biggest protests in a generation. They demanded schools and hospitals reach the same standards as stadiums being created to meet soccer governing body FIFA’s criteria. “Tourists: Don’t get sick. We have stadiums but we don’t have hospitals,” reads graffiti across the street from the Pedro Ernesto hospital just 800 meters (2,600 feet) from from the Maracana stadium.

Ziffs Shut Down Hedge Fund, Shift Way Wealth Is Managed (WSJ)
The billionaire Ziff brothers are shutting down the last multibillion-dollar hedge fund that invests their family fortune, one of the biggest such pots of money in the U.S. The three brothers, heirs to the wealth created by their grandfather’s magazine-publishing empire, are shutting the second of their two hedge funds and stepping away from the one-for-all, all-for-one investing style they followed for more than two decades, according to people familiar with their plans. Dirk, Robert and Daniel Ziff, ages 50, 47 and 42 years old, respectively, are closing their London-based hedge fund after its veteran portfolio manager, David Fear, decided to strike out on his own, the people said.

Apollo Uses Wedge Maneuver to Save Caesars (WSJ)
In its efforts to salvage the $1.7 billion-plus it has invested in Caesars Entertainment Corp., Apollo Global Management is employing a tactic often used by the Roman emperor of the same name: divide and conquer. Turf wars between owners and creditors often flare up over financially troubled firms, but in this case Apollo co-founder Marc Rowan and his team are aligning with some funds that have bought into Caesars’s roughly $23 billion of debt and is clashing with others. Some creditors snapped up Caesars debt at discount prices and hope to take away control of the casino company from Apollo if Caesars files for bankruptcy protection.

Molly Schuyler downs two 72oz steak meals in under 15 minutes (TDC)
A mother of four and competitive eater consumed a 72oz steak and all the sides — twice in under 15 minutes. According to The Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant in Amarillo, Texas, Molly Schuyler, of Bellevue, Nebraska, ate the first meal in under five minutes and the second in just under 10. Schuyler, who was listed as being 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 125 pounds at an eating contest in January, said she rushed to consume the first medium-rare steak and its sides, which including a baked potato, shrimp, a salad and a bread roll, but slowed down on the second meal, the Amarillo Globe News reported. “We witnessed history,” Big Texan co-owner Danny Lee told reporters. “If there’s a zombie apocalypse, I want to stay away from this girl.” The previous record was held by competitive eater Joey Chestnut. Schuyler told the newspaper that she plans to return to the Big Texan with the goal of eating three of the steak dinners in one sitting. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.22.14

BofA Scrapping Market-Making Unit Amid Trading Scrutiny (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp. is dismantling an electronic market-making unit created last year to serve the lender’s Merrill Lynch wealth-management division, said two people with knowledge of the decision. Increased regulatory scrutiny of U.S. equity markets and managers’ concerns for the potential perception of a conflict of interest killed the project, said the people. The desk advanced to a testing phase before being abandoned in recent weeks and two executives hired to run it, Jonathan Wang and Steven Sadoff, were told to seek new jobs within the firm, the people said, requesting anonymity because the matter is private.

Deutsche Bank to defend capital increase at annual meeting (Reuters)
Germany’s largest bank launched the capital increase in a surprise move only weeks after first hinting that it was unable to retain enough profit to fortify its finances ahead of a regulatory health check slated for later this year. Shareholder approval is not required but some investors will express anger with the issue and with the lack of progress on resolving a long list of investigations that has dogged the bank since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Wall Street Finds New Subprime With 125% Business Loans (Bloomberg)
Subprime business lending — the industry prefers to be called “alternative” — has swelled to more than $3 billion a year, estimates Marc Glazer, who has researched his competitors as head of Business Financial Services Inc., a lender in Coral Springs, Florida. That’s twice the volume of small loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

Hedge Funds Are Betting The Roomba Will Short Circuit (BFB)
A new report from Spruce Point Capital Management issued Tuesday questions the accounting and corporate governance practices at iRobot, the company that manufactures the Roomba, the Scooba and other robotic home cleaning products. The report also claims competition from cheaper, comparable robotic cleaners means iRobot will face mounting financial obstacles to maintaining its growth.

How Old People and Pricey Shrimp Turned Red Lobster Into a Castoff (BusinessWeek)
Seafood sellers have been whacked over the past year by the surging cost of shrimp due to acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome. Billions of young shrimp have died from the disease, which was first detected in farm-raised populations in Asia. Shrimp prices hit a 14-year high earlier this year. Adding insult to injury, Red Lobster was widely known for its $15.99 “Endless Shrimp” promotions designed to get people into the restaurant…Beyond the expenses of procuring shrimp, Red Lobster also attracts an oversize share of older diners who don’t eat out frequently, while younger and spendier patrons eat their fish at more upscale restaurants—places that can cover rising costs better.

Houston Str!pper Sued For Harry Potter DVDs (HP)
Wallace, a Houston-based software developer, thought he was in a “dating relationship” with exotic dancer Nomi Mims. He loaned her $2,000, a laptop and his precious collection of movies based on the J.K. Rowling books, KRIV-TV reports. When the alleged relationship ended May 3, Wallace hoped Mims would return the items. She hasn’t so now he says he’s suing her to get the money, laptop and Harry Potter DVDs. Fat chance, according to Mims. She says she never dated Wallace and that the items were gifts he gave to her. “I don’t believe in loans because I don’t want to pay anybody back,” she said, according to RawStory.com. “I’ve given him gifts too. You know, how do I get my b00ty and b00bs back?” Although Wallace claims the two were intimate and “building a life together,” Mims says they were never more than friends. She concedes that it is unfortunate that she may have given him the wrong impression, MyFoxPhilly.com reports. Read more »

Once upon a time, say from 1995 through 2002, there was no better place to be come chow time than the Olive Garden. Oh, the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks! The pastas, whose recipes were pretend-learned at the maybe-not-so-much-extant Culinary Institute of Tuscany! The shrimp scampi, rivaled only by OG’s sister restaurant and frequent neighbor, Red Lobster.

Well, things have gone somewhat downhill since those carefree salad days, and now the OG is a millstone around the neck of its owner, Darden Restaurants. Both because it is not growing as fast as such Darden gems like Bahama Breeze and LongHorn Steakhouse and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, and because it has attracted the attention of hedge-fund rabble-rousers Barington Capital Group and Starboard Value.

To fend off these advances, Darden has suggested spinning off Red Lobster—and Red Lobster alone. This will not do for Barington and Starboard Value, who propose much more radical surgery, including a real-estate spinoff, but, most importantly, keeping the largest purveyors of shrimp scampi in the U.S. under one roof. And that is something Brad Blum, Olive Garden president from 1995 to 2002, can get behind. Read more »

Holiday Bell: 12.31.13

Winners of 2013: Boring Investors (WSJ)
In the best year for U.S. stocks since 1995, the smart way to play the markets has been to follow the dumb money. So-called dumb-money strategies, which involve buying and holding a plain-vanilla portfolio of U.S. stocks, did much better than the more complex approaches employed by hedge funds and other professional investors. Fueled by easy money from the Federal Reserve and signs of improvement in the economy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average goes into the final day of 2013 with a gain of 29% once dividends are included, while the S&P 500 index has climbed 32% with dividends. Those gains far outpace the rally predicted by even the most bullish Wall Street strategists. Many hedge funds were left in the dust, alongside investors who use “tactical” timing of the markets’ ups and downs and those who spread their bets among a wide variety of assets such as commodities, emerging markets and exchanged-traded funds.

Private Equity Enjoys A Record Year (WSJ)
Private-equity firms are set to return a record amount of cash to their investors for 2013, after taking advantage of buoyant markets to sell hundreds of billions of dollars of investments. From initial public offerings to company debt deals that pay private-equity investors hefty dividends—this year will be remembered for the gains earned by firms that specialize in buying and selling companies, and by the pension funds, university endowments and wealthy individuals that invest in them. Investors in private-equity funds are expected to receive more than $120 billion for 2013, topping last year’s record of $115 billion, according to estimates by Cambridge Associates LLC, which gets a glimpse of firms’ finances as an adviser to private-equity investors. In the first half of 2013, private-equity firms returned $60.8 billion to investors.

Pot Shops in Denver Open Door to $578 Million in Sales (Bloomberg)
Toni Fox plans to open the doors of her Denver marijuana shop at 8 a.m. tomorrow to a line of customers including some who camped overnight to be the first in the U.S. to legally buy pot for recreational use. Fox has arranged for canopy tents, heaters and a food truck to offer donuts and pastries to patrons waiting for the state-appointed hour. She expects sales at her 3D Cannabis Center, operating since 2010 as a medical-marijuana dispensary near the Denver Coliseum, to surge to at least $250,000 a month from $30,000, she said. “We’ll have people out the door,” Fox, 42, a Salida resident, said by telephone. “It’s going to be a very festive atmosphere. We all feel like we’re walking on sunshine right now.” Fox’s shop is among 14 in Denver that got state and local licenses in time to sell marijuana to anyone 21 or older starting Jan. 1, just over a year after Colorado and Washington voters made their states the first to legalize recreational use. Washington’s shops are expected to open later in the year. Colorado projects $578.1 million a year in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales to yield $67 million in tax revenue, according to the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. Wholesale transactions taxed at 15 percent will finance school construction, while the retail levy of 10 percent will fund regulation of the industry.

‘Sell’ Report Fails To Chill Herbalife (NYP)
Herbalife shares look to be wrapped in Kevlar. The controversial diet-shake seller’s stock, one of the hottest this year with a gain of 136 percent, barely budged Monday after getting hit with its first sell recommendation. Shares in the Los Angeles company slipped 0.5 percent, to $77.92.

My ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Review (TRB/Josh Brown)
I’ve known ten or twelve guys who worked at the Lake Success headquarters of Stratton during its heyday; all the stories are true and there’s very little embellishment in the movie. It all happened and then some. I’ve been hearing these stories for fifteen years. There was a diaspora of sorts that happened after that firm went down, a thousand others had opened up shop as the brokers were scattered like seeds in the wind. Boiler room brokerages had sprung up from Westchester to New Jersey to Staten Island to the Financial District in Manhattan to Boca Raton, Florida. But nowhere was there as heavy a concentration as there was on Long Island. At one point, there was a nickel broker-dealer in every glass office tower in Suffolk and Nassau Counties (and many big buildings had several firms housed on different floors, imagine the stairwells). The scripts used in the movie were the exact same ones taught to every NY metro area broker in the late 1990′s. I printed the entire Belfort pitch (which itself had been stolen from the Madison Avenue office of Lehman Brothers) in my book Backstage Wall Street, I’m fairly certain the producers got their hands on it for the film. I doubt Jordan had a copy lying around from twenty years ago. They also used the term “Wildebeest” which is something I use on TV a lot to describe runaway stocks. My friend Paul and I made it up in a finance context five years ago, so I’m flattered, I guess.

$375-per-person New Year’s feast – at Applebee’s? (MarketWatch)
Sure, you may think of Applebee’s as an affordable casual-dining chain, famed for its whiskey-flavored steaks and two-for-$20 dinner specials…But once a year, Applebee’s goes high-end. The chain’s franchise-owned restaurant in the heart of New York’s Times Square offers a $375-a-person New Year’s Eve bash that’s billed as “a night to remember.” (Those under 12 can get in for $250.) But this isn’t your standard Applebee’s bill of fare, the franchisee notes. The party, which starts at 8 p.m. and wraps up at midnight, features an extensive buffet, a “premium” open bar, a house DJ, a dance floor, plus party favors galore. And for those eager to see the ball drop, the restaurant lets patrons “make their way to the streets of Times Square.” As for the vittles themselves, be prepared for “a ton of food” (steak and shrimp included) prepared by “some fairly sophisticated culinary people,” says Zane Tankel, who heads up all 38 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York metro area. Add in the décor and “you wouldn’t know you were at an Applebee’s for that one night,” Tankel says. Read more »

Opening Bell: 12.12.13

Banks Speeding Asia Promotions Doubles Rate of Pay Raises (Bloomberg)
Ang Eng Siong, 33, has been promoted every year since he completed Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.’s management associate program in 2010, when he was put in charge of two older, higher-ranked colleagues. “My team members were all a lot more experienced in that particular role,” said Ang, now a vice-president of corporate treasury in Singapore under the chief financial officer. “An opportunity to manage an important project would be rare so they wanted just to give me the exposure.” Banks and companies across Asia are putting local employees like Ang on a fast track to senior roles to counter a dearth of management expertise in the region and to deter staff from being poached by rivals. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. opened its first leadership academy outside of Korea in Singapore in October, following companies from OCBC to Unilever Plc. that have spent millions on training institutes in the region. “Talent is in short supply and secondly businesses are growing faster than people can grow,” said John Nolan, Singapore-based senior vice president of human resources for global markets at Unilever. “One way to fill that talent shortage is to accelerate the rate of readiness of your people.” He said the company’s philosophy is to try to promote employees in emerging markets faster than the five to six years it takes globally to move up a level.

Criminal Action Is Expected for JPMorgan in Madoff Case (Dealbook)
JPMorgan Chase and federal authorities are nearing settlements over the bank’s ties to Bernard L. Madoff, striking tentative deals that would involve roughly $2 billion in penalties and a rare criminal action. The government will use a sizable portion of the money to compensate Mr. Madoff’s victims. The settlements, which are coming together on the anniversary of Mr. Madoff’s arrest at his Manhattan penthouse five years ago on Wednesday, would fault the bank for turning a blind eye to his huge Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case who were not authorized to speak publicly.

For No. 2 at Fed, White House Favors Central Banker in the Bernanke Mold (NYT)
Stanley Fischer, the former governor of the Bank of Israel and a mentor to the Federal Reserve’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, is the leading candidate to become vice chairman of the Fed, according to former and current administration officials. If nominated, and then confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Fischer, 70, would succeed Janet L. Yellen, whom President Obama nominated to succeed Mr. Bernanke as the Fed’s leader when his term ends in January. Mr. Fischer is at once a surprising choice and a popular pick among economists and investors. He is a highly regarded economist with significant policy-making experience, yet many had considered his selection improbable because of his recent service in a foreign government.

Manchester United Faces Doubter in the Market (Dealbook)
The British soccer team Manchester United has made a poor showing on the field this season. Now the British hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is making a multimillion-dollar bet that the club’s New York-listed shares are destined for a similar trajectory. Odey Asset Management, Mr. Odey’s fund, has taken a $22 million short position against Manchester United shares. Mr. Odey’s bet pits him against several investors who remain strong supporters of the team. George Soros has a 5.3 percent stake, and GLG, a division of the world’s biggest hedge fund, Man Group, has a 2.2 percent stake.

Kama Sutra cookie cutters set to raise bakers’ temperatures (Daily Mail)
The £17.99 set includes four raunchy positions to recreate in dough, including the naughtily-named ‘Baking From Behind’ and ‘Very Well Risen’ designs. Each cookie cutter depicts two gingerbread men/women positioned in a different sex act found in the ancient erotic manual the Karma Sutra…The instructions read: ‘Simply prepare your favourite type of cookie dough, cut out your shapes and then turn your oven into a sordid little dungeon of carnal pleasure. Whilst you furiously beat the dough, squirt the icing and grab yourself a nice big rack to cool your cookies on, you can think up all sorts of hilarious baking double entendres.’ Read more »

Time was, the life of a junior investment banker meant making an obscene amount of money for someone just out of college, in exchange for, well, everything. Weekends were a privilege, not a right, all-nighters were a way of life, and if your boss wasn’t barking increasingly onerous demands at you, ripping your head off moments after you turned in a one-hundred page pitch book you missed your grandmother’s 90th birthday to finish, and telling you to do it again, and try, this time, “not to fuck it up,” something was very wrong.

Then the financial crisis hit, and Wall Street started paying less, and junior investment bankers started to do some reflection. “Hey,” they said, “We’re not making the kind of money they talked about in Liar’s Poker and The Last Tycoons. Telling girls we work at banks doesn’t melt panties like it used to and gone are the days of Christmas parties on yachts featuring shrimp the size of a fist and hookers brought in at a ratio of 2:1. And what the hell gives re: dinner allowances when working late? Twenty bucks barely covers an appetizer, entree, and Coke.”

So the junior investment bankers got together, like a long-oppressed people often do, and decided they weren’t going to stand for it any longer. First things first, they were going to start interviewing with hedge funds and private equity firms before their two years of servitude were up. They were going to write books about what a hell-hole their employers were, and how they ripped off clients and probably couldn’t even recite John C. Whitehead’s 14 Business Principles if they tried. They were going to tell each other that the trade off for working 100 hours a week (the possibility of one day having a conversation with Gary Cohn’s grundle) was no longer worth it. They were going to leave for Silicon Valley. They were going to tell the younger generations that there wasn’t much difference between being a junior investment banker and a lawyer.

For one bank, Goldman Sachs, that was a bridge too far. So it got a “task force” together to figure out what it could do to make its junior mistmakers slightly less miserable and after a lot of memos and committee meetings and back and forths finally decided to very generously allow the young people to take some (SOME. NOT ALL.) weekends off, in addition to implementing a new system that minimizes the instances of senior bankers making vague requests of underlings and subsequently being forced to ask said underling if they were “some kind of idiot” and stressing that that was “an actual question” awaiting an actual answer.

Basically, it’s an embarrassment of riches that would have been unheard of prior to 2008 and even today might shock some investment banking vets. Read more »